The final UFC card of a turbulent 2020 is upon us this weekend as Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson faces off against Geoff ‘Hands of Steel’ Neal. The Apex Centre in Las Vegas once again plays host to this UFC fight card which consists of some interesting match ups that are sure to provide some fireworks to round out the year.
At Bantamweight, Jose Aldo attempts to get back on the right track against Marlon Vera, while the excitement machine, Michel Pereira faces off against Khaos Williams who looks to score his third straight first round KO of 2020. For the last time in 2020 let’s dive into the card below.
These match ups I always love from a betting standpoint due to the disrespect technical strikers get against power punches. Let’s take a look back last year when Thompson faced Luque for example. I was confident on Thompson that day and he put on a striking clinic winning with ease. Luque since has gone back to his demolition ways beating Niko Price and Randy Brown by KO. Neal also secured two KO wins in 2020 finishing Niko Price and Mike Perry. While I do respect his power and striking, he needs to get within range of Thompson repeatedly as he will not win a straight kickboxing fight.
Thompson’s range management that comes from his traditional karate stance and he should be able to pick apart Neal on the outside while staying away from his power shots. His use of front kicks and switch kicks keeps his opponents at his preferred distance, and he uses his punches to score rather than inflict major damage. Thompson has only been finished once in his professional MMA career, which was by an explosive punch by Anthony Pettis. Neal will have to back Thompson up to stand a chance to land a killer blow and will have to walk through a kicking barrage to do that, something that won’t end well for him. Expect a wide decision victory for Wonderboy and treat the $2 on offer as an early Christmas gift.
Look this fight is going to be complete and utter Khaos…. But seriously both men throw wild strikes with a ridiculous amount of power behind them. Pereira enters every fight with an explosive style that leads him to throw a range of spinning attacks, flips and downright crazy moves that most fighters would only ever think of attempting in their gyms. Williams on the other hand walks people down and lands bombs until he lays them out on the canvas. In his two 2020 bouts Williams has knocked out both opponents in a combined 57 seconds and he will look to make this a short night too.
I see Pereira as the one who will decide the outcome of this fight. He will either land something that puts Williams out, lock up a choke in a scramble or spin himself into the power right of Khaos and will wake up staring at the lights. Either way this won’t be lasting the whole 15 which is a shame as it will be exciting for as long as it lasts. I am backing the fight not to go the distance but a play on Pereira to win wouldn’t be a bad way of playing this fight either if you can deal with some stress.
I really expected to see Moraes as a champion by now and his inability to go a strong three rounds let alone five has repeatedly proved to be his downfall. Yet once again I go back to the well in tipping the Brazilian. Arguably Moraes has lost his last three with his win over Aldo being one that most agree to be the wrong decision. Moraes carries such power and speed early that he can knock his opponent out in a flash and on the ground he has crafty chokes and nasty top control. His cardio issues are where he falls but I see this not going past the opening rounds for that to matter.
Rob Font is a high-level fighter but I don’t see him having any advantage in this fight other than in cardio. He will be outstruck and outgrappled in the early exchanges and I don’t think he has that killer instinct to put Moraes away even if he lasts early and Moraes then fades. Moraes dominates round 1 and if Font survives, he lands enough in round 2 to leave Font with a finish required to win the fight in round 3. Moraes likely wins by stoppage in round 1 but even if he doesn’t, he sets up a too big a lead on the judge’s scorecards for his lack of cardio to cost him the fight.
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